The castle was built in the 11th century on Colle San Giovanni, on the remains of preexisting fortifications, probably from ancient times.
Porta Osca connects the Samnite fortress with the medieval fortress via the three-towered main keep, which has layers of successive fortifications over the centuries. The village was developed in the 13th century.
From the Lombards to the Normans, several families fought for control of the Castel di Sangro fortress, which was used as a military outpost. It belonged to the Di Sangro family and was known as the “King’s Castle.” Jacopo Caldora later overthrew it, Braccio da Montone destroyed it, and it was finally abandoned in the 16th century as the town grew farther and farther down the valley, where the feudal baronial palace was constructed and where the Caracciolo family settled and acquired the fief. The castle was destroyed by the earthquake in Maiella in 1706, which caused several of its walls to fall.
The castle’s irregular square layout, which is still visible, is surrounded by the bases of three circular towers, the oldest of which is the largest and is known as the keep. The keep was used as a guardhouse by the Lombards and the Samnites before them and served as a citadel of control and a residency for the baron. The church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, which serves as a private chapel, is located between the towers.
Image source: di Sangro valley in a depiction of Karl Stieler (1877),
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